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Preda Newsletter October 2010

October 2, 2010 · 

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DEAR FRIENDS & DEFENDERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS,

The US Navy left behind a proud heritage in the Philippines – their children. When the Navy base closed at Subic Bay, these children of mixed-race were left abandoned by their fathers, some without mothers, others adopted by poor families, and all impoverished materially, culturally and without family. Yet they are children who endured racial remarks at school, especially if their dad was an African-American. Take Mike for example, his dad was American-Indian, his mom was a Filipina. He was destined to a life of poverty and deprivation until he found welcome at Preda. His mom and sister were helped too with other mothers through the livelihood assistance project. Determined to succeed he was given a scholarship with many other Filipino-American children abandoned and forgotten when the last ship sailed away in 1991. Now he had a chance and never missed a day at school.

He overcame the odds at high school and qualified for nursing college. This year, after four years of intensive studying, he graduated in nursing with top grades and most importantly, he passed the licensure board examination, one of most challenging license exams in the Philippines today. Mike fully qualified as a male nurse and is working now at the Preda Home for boys. He looks after the medical needs of the children rescued from prison and does hospital duty to get experience and further training. It’s a dream worked for and well achieved. Another Preda youth scholar from a poor and needy family, Ivy, also passed her licensure exams and qualified as a nurse this year. A truly proud and happy day.

Two more scholars of Preda graduated from college this year as social workers with top grades one with cum laude honours. They passed their social work board examinations by having a good background working as part time staff at Preda. They now serve as case managers in the Preda Boy’s Home helping the kids with their court cases and monitoring their social development. Many thanks to all of you who continue to support the education of many youth and children at Preda. Their success will not be possible without your help.

FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE FOR CHILD ABUSE VICTIMS. Preda is now fighting for justice for a 12 year-old girl abused by a local politician. Charice (not her real name) was pimped and sold for sex to a local chief executive who then raped her. She was rescued by her mother, social workers and police in a rest house, with the Mayor of San Marcelino, Zambales. Medical legal examination showed signs of sexual abuse. Preda is currently handling 38 cases of child abuse against pedophiles.

On the celebration of World Anti-Prostitution Day last Oct 5th, Preda children, the staff and foreign volunteers and observers joined a rally in front of Olongapo City Hall of Justice in support of Charice. The banners called for an end to the dirty tricks used by some unethical prosecutors to dismiss cases of trafficking of persons and heinous sex crimes against children. Fr. Shay Cullen, founder of the Preda Foundation, a children’s rights organization headed up the rally with other organizations around the area who works for children and women’s rights.

Fr. Cullen told the rally that the public need to support the reforming work of the new Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima. “What we need are prosecutors of dedication and integrity who will deliver justice in every case. We need to support and help the Justice Secretary De Lima in cleaning out the corrupt prosecutors who betray the children and women victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.” ”We cannot allow politicians to manipulate the justice system when they are accused and charged with crimes of trafficking of persons and child abuse”, he said. The posters and banners also called for justice for all victims of human rights. Charice is now safe and recovering in a safe place to keep her safe from apparent threats on her life.

THE STORY OF NENE. There are 50 children from the age of four at the Preda Girl’s Home who are all victims of sexual abuse by their own fathers, relatives and pedophiles. Preda rescues them, gives protection, therapy, healing, education and a new start in life in a loving and supportive, family environment.

Nene’s misery started when she was eight years old. She was raped many times by her uncle. She tried to fight back, but she was helpless. Her uncle used to beat her and even bite her if she refused to give in to his evil brutal desire.

Nene tried to tell her relatives about the abuse, but no one believed her, not even her own mother. She was heart broken and cried alone every night, why no one loved her or would help her. So little Nene ran away from home, wandered the streets and begged for shelter and food. Soon, hungry and vulnerable, he was picked up by a man who said he would help her but he locked her in a house and made her a sex slave abusing her continually. She broke out and ran away again but again she was picked up by others who treated her just badly as their sex object. Her’s was a life of abuse that few people could ever imagine and the authorities turn a blind eye to this rampant child sexual abuse.

One day, when Preda Education Team was giving a human rights seminar in the town of Masinloc, Zambales, a project supported by Irish Aid, they received a tip-off about the plight of Nene and immediately took decisive action to rescue her. That day, Nene’s misery ended. Despite the horribly childhood of rejection and abuse, she recovered through therapy & care and blossomed.“ She is a brilliant & responsible child”, according to a Preda social worker, “and she helps the staff in caring for the smaller children.” She had her emotional expression therapy & feels confident & ready to testify against her abuser & will soon go back to schooling.

More and more girls are coming to the Preda Home for Girls. In the past two months alone, 18 girls were rescued from abusive homes and streets and are now living a safe and happy life at Preda. Only this week, another family day celebration was held at Preda. Families of the recovering girls came to Preda for a day of fun, learning and reunification. All of the girls were very happy to see their loved ones. Nene too was overjoyed to see her family once again after a very long time.

ECO-VILLAGE PROJECT FOR DISPLACED FAMILIES. Preda is the process of finalizing the plan in setting up a new resettlement site for the victims of massive floods that devastated the town and villages around Botolan in Zambales last year. Twenty (20) indigenous families will be relocated to a more secure and elevated piece of arable land given by another indigenous people’s group PAPAHT. The new houses are funded by Trocaire Ireland. Ground surveys have been going on to establish the new community for the families.

This community will be a pro-active ecological village and will help promote environmental awareness and protection and preservation of indigenous culture and at the same time promoting responsible tourism. Here, Preda will continue to expand its tree planting project to reforest the barren areas. Soon after, guests will be welcome to stay and experience nature by learning the indigenous people’s way of life and living with them and planting trees and harvesting mangos.

CHILDREN’S MONTH CELEBRATION. As a lead organization in the promotion and protection of children’s rights in the Philippines, Preda is now planning a series of events in support of the National Children’s Month celebration in the country. One is to hold a rally for children rights in Manila calling for justice for child abuse victims and to end the unjust imprisonment of children.

The rally will be held at the Department of Justice in Manila to call for justice for all victims of exploitation and abuse. Preda is calling for new prosecutors from Manila to handle the case of Charice to assure that there will be fair investigation. A dismissal despite clear evidence is unacceptable and Preda as well as other human rights & child protection groups will not stop campaigning until justice is served.

October is also indigenous people’s month. Preda continues the fight to support and protect indigenous groups from impending threats brought by mining firms and land grabbing. Preda is also assisting indigenous groups in Zambales through fair trading and training in organic mango production. Handicrafts are exported to different countries.

AUTOMOBILE RESTORATION PROJECT FOR BOYS RESCUED FROM PRISON. As more and more boys are coming to Preda for rehabilitation, Preda sees the need to equip these boys with skills that will benefit them when they go back to their families in the future. Preda is now establishing an auto-repair workshop to rebuild old classic German VolksWagen Beatles and resell them in Germany and elsewhere.

The bigger boys will undergo professional mechanical training to start rebuilding vehicles under the supervision of Preda staff. Not only that the older youth will gain skills and experience from the project but also earn money to support themselves. Two young German volunteers, Steve & Jonathan will help the Preda boys work in the workshop for a period of one year. For anyone interested to order a re-assembled “old-timer classic beatle” send an email to shaycullen@preda.org or predainfo@preda.org.

THE PREDA FAIRTRADE DRIED MANGOS – A WORLDWIDE SUCCESS. Preda FairTrade dried mangos is a marketing success wherever they are introduced. When they went into the supermarkets in Ireland and the UK through our partner Forestfeast (www.forestfeast.com), they became a runaway favorite as more and more people tasted them, they took to them instantly. They also learned about the social development work of Preda Foundation and became devoted supporters and many joined the campaign to defend children at risk that Preda Fair Trade supports.

Today, customers are seeking out the Preda dried mangos in every supermarket in Ireland and the UK and calling the managers to ask if they have replenished their stocks. The mangos sell so fast the stores cannot replace them fast enough. The German, Austrian and Dutch world shops are constantly running out of supplies and Preda is hard pressed to keep all supplied. They are a long time irresistible buy for all who know and have eaten them. The health benefits are legendary and are said by researchers to have cancer prevention properties.

The fame of the dried mangos still grows and the latest hit is in Japan through Ministop convenience stores. The exceptional naturally sweet taste and quality of the Preda dried mangos has found favour with the high expectations of discerning and sophisticated Japanese customers of healthy snacks. There is nothing like it on the market because it is SO2 preservative free and also fat free and great for daily healthy eating especially for children. Parents buy the dried mangos to get their children to taste the naturally sweet healthy food and soon they overcome their craving for unhealthy junk snacks. There are no artificial ingredients like food coloring.

PREDA’S IMMEDIATE MISSION: Winning freedom and new life for children in jails, in brothels, in hunger, on the street, abandoned youth, and those mired in poverty. Helping battered women, indigenous people and protecting the environment and alleviating poverty by micro-credit and fair trade. These are integrated projects & mutually support each other to reach their common goal.

Preda is a Philippine human rights social development organization working for 36 years providing social services, community education, human rights advocacy & alleviates poverty and economic oppression through fair-trade. The immediate action projects work to save children from abusive situations and rescues minors from jails and giving them shelter, support and recovery in a dignified Preda home. Girls are rescued from brothels and pimps, and given a new start in life in a Preda therapeutic community. There is a program to rescue & protect children physical and sexually abused in their home by parents or relatives and those abused in the community. They too have a Preda home where they can be safe, protected and recover. The healing by emotional expression therapy, affirmation, support and encouragement restores their sense of self worth and dignity. They are empowered & they take legal action to seek justice for themselves to heal & hope for a better life.

Sincerely,

Father Shay Cullen, the Staff & the Preda Children

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